Police Officer

What Does a Police Officer Do?
Police officers serve to protect people and property.
Their goal is to find individuals who break the law and determine a punishment based on the crime committed. Police officers deal with various types of crimes and scenarios, from traffic violations, theft to homicides ó they see it all. Depending on the crime committed and its severity, police officers may give warnings, tickets or take individuals to jail. Much of police officers’ time is spent patrolling and investigating any suspicious behavior they see, as well as responding to emergency calls. Police officers are typically on-the-go, reporting to crime scenes, writing reports and testifying in court, if needed. The duties of police officers varies within their designated specialty, such as sheriffs, highway patrol officers or detectives. In addition, they are split up by local, state and federal agencies. Most state and local law enforcement agencies are organized into jurisdictions, where officers are assigned a specific area to patrol alone or with a partner.

What Is the Employment and Salary Outlook for a Police Officer?
The employment and salary outlook for police officers should be favorable during the 2008-2018 decade. During this time frame, employment of police officers is expected to grow 10 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This significant job increase can be attributed to America’s population growth. Essentially, more people bring more opportunities for crimes to occur, and a greater need to protect lives and property. Also, the job rate is determined by the level of government spending and depends on location. Job competition is expected to be high for police officers in state and federal agencies. In addition, jobs will be the most plentiful and easiest to get in local police departments that pay low salaries or in urban communities with high crime rates. Police officers can also expect a positive salary outlook over the next 10 years, with various opportunities for promotions, benefits and special allowances. Police officers made an average salary of $51,410 in 2008, according to the Bureau.

How Can I Become a Police Officer?
In order to become a police officer, you must consider the educational and training steps it takes to enter this challenging, yet rewarding field. While many police departments and agencies do not require their officers to have more than a high school diploma, it has become more common to earn a college degree. Many police officers obtain an associate degree in police work or related subject, which takes about two years to complete. During your program, you will learn about law enforcement, criminal justice and civil rights to enhance your understanding of local, state and federal laws. Once you have completed your program, you will be eligible to apply for law enforcement occupations. In addition, prospective officers must be U.S. citizens, at least 21 years old and meet difficult physical and personality tests. For more information on police work and to view law enforcement jobs, visit The National Law Enforcement Recruiters Association.